Running a Rochdale

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Sir,

I bought a Rochdale Olympic as a result of your excellent articles extolling the virtues of the Phase I, and later the Phase II, through your small advertisements section. Previously I had owned nothing but Alvis––12/50, 12/60, Firefly, Speed 20, and now a TA14—except for a Ford 10 Special which introduced me to the invaluable rustproof qualities of fibreglass.

My keen interest in your Rochdale reports was sharpened (and I was driven to write to you) by your most recent article (page 119, February issue), where I found myself described as “the first chap who came along” and bought Derek Argyle’s discarded experiment. I am enthralled to find the history of my Phase II given in such detail in the discussion which you have so kindly reprinted. The car is certainly a “superb Rochdale Olympic,” as Derek advertised it, and I’m very glad he took it to Crown Garages to smarten-up its road-holding, for I find it excellent, except for cross winds over Force 3 on motorways, which make it swerve slightly and prevent the full 99 m.p.h. It is, of course, very different from the TA14, which goes on motorways at 80 m.p.h. quite unaffected by wind or wet, but I was interested to find that on a journey from Harpenden to Middlesbrough, made several times with the Alvis in 5 hours (236 miles), the Rochdale made the journey in 4 hr. 11 min., with less fatigue.

I find that the car, on average, does 31 m.p.g., and suggest that Derek got less because he had a very strong return spring and a stiff cable on the throttle. When the pedal was depressed considerable strain developed in the cable and linkage until, suddenly, the throttle flipped open, and the accelerator-pump did its deadly, petrol-consuming work. Attention to this detail enables me to move off without wheelspin, too!

In conclusion may I thank Rochdales, Derek Argyle (he deserved the profit on the re-sale) and yourselves for combining to.give me a most interesting motor car in this mass-production age of built-to-be-thrown-away tinware.

Arthur Penman –Harpenden.

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